The VOR fleet is enjoying big winds and big waves as they make their way south to Trindade
The first five yachts in the Volvo Ocean Race, still led by John Kostecki’s illbruck Challenge team, are racing into strong south-easterly breezes of up to 20 knots on their way south to the final waypoint of Ilha Trindade, still 400 miles away.
While such conditions would normally produce big daily runs (allowing the crews to reel off the miles to Cape Town) the yachts are literally launching off large, sloppy head seas left over from another weather system.
The on-deck crews have to find a fine balance between pushing on, and not losing valuable miles, against throttling back enough to avoid serious equipment damage or failure.
Explaining the sensation of having to live and work inside a Volvo Ocean 60 at times like these, Team News Corp navigator Ross Field said: “When you’re standing inside it feels exactly like being in an airplane when you hit at air pocket.”
The conditions though are not deterring the leading two yachts of illbruck (first) and Assa Abloy. Both teams are keen to maintain and extend their advantage in preparation for the final sprint across the unpredictable south Atlantic to the finish line.
“We have been fighting hard to hang on with lots of sail changes and pushing the masthead reaching genoa to the absolute red line,” reported Mark Rudgier from Assa Abloy earlier.
At the rear of the fleet, Lisa McDonald’s crew on Amer Sports Too are enjoying a duel with djuice. The two crews lined up after the Norwegian yacht made a quick pitstop off Fernando de Noronha yesterday evening to collect spares for her damaged headboard car and water maker.
Race Position Report, Day 21, 1600hrs GMT